Ephesians 4:4-6, One Spirit who helps us in prayer, the Pharisee and the Publican, part 3.
length: 65:55 - taught on Nov, 19 2020
Thursday November 19, 2020
And He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. 11 "The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, 'God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. 12 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' 13 "But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' 14 "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted."
Anything other than humility is a false front. Before the holiness and immensity of God, we must know ourselves to be a little more than nothing.
It is not things that we need to be separated from, but self. Nothing is evil in itself, for God has created it. It is the perversion of those things for the love of self that makes them sinful and evil.
God has crucified our old self. We have put on the new self and must put it on in our consciousness.
It is by faith and growth that we detach ourselves from self. Awareness and understanding come with learning doctrines and applying them by means of the HS.
We cannot overemphasize this. It is not the man who is currently under the sway of the old self who even recognizes it, never mind can detach himself from it. This is true in all things, for instance, we don’t understand the nature of sleep when we are asleep, only when awake. We don’t understand the nature of drunkenness when we are drunk, but only when sober. We don’t understand the nature of selfishness when we are selfish, but only when humble. We cannot force ourselves to be humble, but we can submit ourselves to God’s commands, an enforced humility, and in time we will discover a genuine humility within ourselves.
We must constantly be in contact with God if we are going to be humble, and from this vantage, we will understand our need to always be detached from self.
The tax-collector is as he is because he has made true contact with God, and so his prayer is proper. The Pharisee has only made contact with himself, and so his prayer is asinine. Consistently learning God’s word and consistently trying to obey it, and constantly praying keeps us in constant contact with God, and then with time, baby-steps at first, we come to see our dire need to detach from the old-self and put on the new-self, being renewed day by day.
It is not our vices toward things that is the problem but our attachment to the old-self. Grow through learning and living (walking in a manner worthy), and though you will be greatly disappointed in yourself at times, your continued exposure to God’s Word will give you the strength to make every effort to pursue the image of Christ with renewed vigor.
Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
Until we love God completely, everything in the world will be able to hurt us.
We need to notice in this parable that the self-satisfied, contemptuous actor is a religious man. How does the religion of the Pharisee, based upon the law, the prophets, and the writings, which should make him humble and loving, make him so arrogant? The explanation is not far to seek.
Human nature displays itself in religion as in everything else with which men have to do. The men who in the ordinary walks of life seek a cheap success carry their slothful ambition into religion, and crave an eminence that cost them little. The shallow characters that are content to have the appearance without the reality, reputation without worth, applause without much wilderness sufferings, priority and high station without superior excellence, are content to be accepted as godly, although void of its power.
The craving for recognition exceeds the craving for that which deserves it, and the Christian church has not escaped this blight.
The Pharisee was man’s crowning effort in recognition without substance.
The Pharisee thanks God he is not like other men. Those other men should be thankful. But in any case, it shows that his religion has been rather an affair between him and other men rather than him and God. This shows his ambition.
Not only is there ambitious motive, but also a false standard.
His standard by which he measures himself is against others. His ambition is satisfied that he is superior, but it is not based on actual virtue, but of superficial purity and formal observances.
'God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. 12 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'
Ambition and false standards will render any prayer life (spiritual life) ineffective.